Intermittent fasting is an incredible health practice that should be practiced by everyone. Here are are some of the benefits associated with intermittent fasting:
Autophagy: This process occurs after around 12-14 hours of fasting. It recycles and removes dead and damaged cells from the body, helping the body detox from harmful toxins and heavy metals, improving cellular function and boosting energy production.
Insulin sensitivity: Insulin resistance is an increasing health issue in society. improving insulin sensitivity helps your body maintain health blood sugar levels, metabolise foods and create energy efficiently, reducing the chances of diabetes, Alzheimers disease, cancer, high blood pressure and other cardio vascular diseases.
Weight loss: fasting activates ketosis, as state the body enters where it uses fat stores for energy. These fat stores are predominantly your visceral fats around your organs and tummy area that are associated with cardio vascular disease.
Reduced inflammation: Intermittent fasting reduces chronic inflammation in the body. Inflammation is linked to various diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. By reducing inflammation, intermittent fasting has a positive impact on overall health.
Gut/microbiome health: Giving your digestive system a rest can heal heal and balance the microbiome. This is one of the foundation for a health, energy filled life. As they say both health and disease start in the gut.
How to implement intermittent fasting into your daily routine:
It is important to note that men and women should approach fasting differently. Due the the complex nature of the female cycle, timing, duration and foods needs to be considering during the different 4 stages of the menstrual cycle.
Choose a time that is most convenient for you to have your first meal of the day.
Decide how long you would like to fast for. Great options fasting/eating would be 14/10, 16/8 or 18/6
Sometimes these extended periods might be intimidating, so slowly increasing your fasting window is recommended. Starting with 12/12 and moving towards an optimal timing of 18/6. Ladies should do longer fasts from the end of their menstruation until mid ovulation, there after reducing fasting windows and increasing calories by about 20% to avoid a famine response by the body whereby your body will store fat if it feels its not getting sufficient nutrition. Remember, eating nutrition dense foods during this period is necessary and will have a positive effect on the intensity of PMS symptoms. increase magnesium and zinc rich food/ supplements during Luteal(PMS) and menstrual phases.
Count the amount of hours for your chosen eating window from your first meal and plan your meals within that eating window. Focusing on eating nutrient dense foods during this time and avoiding processed foods, sugars and seeds oils as much as possible.
Stop eating at the end of your eating window. Avoid anything thereafter that may cause an insulin response as this will break your fast. Extra points for implementing fasting windows before sunset as metabolic function is reduced dramatically after sunset when melatonin is released.
Do's and Don'ts of fasting:
Stop eating before sunset
Drink coffee, tea and water during fasting window
Add MCT oil to your coffee or tea for extra ketones. Blend into the desired drink to emulsify into the water creating a creamy and delicious texture. MCT oil does not break a fast.
Drink Psyllium husk: This prebiotic fibre does not break a fast and feed your gut bacteria, leaving them satiated and reducing the hunger signals they send to the brain.
Apple cider vinegar is a great probiotic that does not break a fast. Approach with caution as if there is an imbalance in the microbiome you may feel nausea or bloating. If this occurs, refrain from this initially and try again in a couple of months when the intermittent fasting as assisted in balancing your microbiome
Supplement with magnesium, and other electrolyes/minerals & water soluble vitamins. if any of these make you feel nauseous, refrain from that particular supplement.
Don't fast for more than 5 consecutive days, ladies would do well to refrain from 2 consecutive days. Over fasting can lead to a famine response where the body enters a survival mode where it will store energy and water, due to consistently being dropped into ketosis.
Don't add milk to your coffee or tea, drink alcohol or have anything that might cause an insulin response. This will break your fast.
Don't eat processed foods, sugars and seed oils in your eating window. Fasting is not a substitute or a remedy for an unhealthy eating window.
Those with Type 1 diabetes should refrain from fasting or consult a specialist for a safe approach to fasting.
Fasting is an excellent health practice that can benefit everyone. It should be practiced with a sense of responsibility. If you would like to know more or be guided through this process, join our 6 week shred / health optimisation program for an incredible boost into a healthy lifestyle.